artist / participant
For the last half century, Ed Ruscha’s work in the print medium has paralleled his developments in other media. Encompassing photography, drawing, painting, and film, Ruscha’s work is inventive and quintessentially American.
This exhibition brings together Ruscha’s earliest graphic work, including his earliest published prints: Dorothy Ruscha, his only woodcut, from 1960; Gas, his first lithograph, from 1962; 3327 Division, two lithos from 1962 (both bearing the same title); and 1984, his first print depicting only text, from 1965. Both Gas and 1984 anticipate Ruscha’s career-long fascination with language, imagery, and the intersection of the two.
One such example is Ruscha’s depictions of the Hollywood sign. Combining landscape and language, each of the four works in the exhibition from this series illustrates Ruscha’s innovative use of various printing techniques. The earliest of these, a screenprint from 1968, renders the Los Angeles skyline in gradient sunset hues with the Hollywood sign lit by the setting sun. While similar in composition to the original print from 1968, two more Hollywood works from 1970 were printed with substances that allude to the indulgences of Los Angeles in that era: Pepto-Bismol, caviar, and the diet drink Metrecal.
Early Graphic Works: 1960 - 1977